Frank Lloyd Wright: “You Must Read the Book of Nature”

Johnson Wax Offices, Wisconsin, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright 1936

His children and wife were murdered, his house burned down twice and his career took 70 years to finally take off; though his personal life may not have run smoothly, Frank Lloyd Wright designed some of the spacially fluid buildings of all time.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American architect, interior designer and writer who introduced the world to organic architecture. His philosophy was that structures should be built in harmony with humanity and their environment. His designs put an end to the idea of a home a sequence of separated boxes and instead made space flow.

Fallingwater, Pennsylvania by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1964

6 Principles for Organic Design

If you were looking to describe Wright’s, the characteristics of his works can be reduced to 6 key principles. Firstly, they follow one dominant form that is integrated throughout. They appear to grow easily from their site. Their colour palette is natural, taking inspiration from the woods, they reveal the nature of their materials, they provide space for natural foliage and finally a Wright building opens up space.

Rather uniquely, Wright took a stand against air conditioners. “Air conditioning is a dangerous circumstance … I think it far better to go with the natural climate than to try to fix a special artificial climate of your own”, he wrote in his book The Natural House.

Wright designed over 1000 structures, of which 532 were constructed. Essentially, Wright fufills his own definition of what a great architect is “a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age”. It would not be an overstatement to say he brought American architecture to the forefront and furthermore that he did so with a carefully insightful philosophy of the natural world.

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